There's a laundry list of reasons for the Texas Rangers' collapse this year, and it wasn't just a product of the season's final week — it was a long time coming. As part of a series, we'll take a look at some of those issues.
Today, we'll look at a trend that has been going on since the 2010 season that hit an all-time high (or low?) this season, and that's the Rangers' tendency to rely more and more heavily on the home run for run production.
In 2012, the Rangers were fifth in MLB with 200 home runs, were 24th in stolen bases with 91, were fourth in the AL in sacrifices (NL teams rule this category due to the difference in style of play) and fourth in run-scoring sacrifice flies.
In 2011, they were second in homers with 210, fifth in steals with 143, fifth in the AL in sacrifices and sixth in run-scoring sac flies. Compare that to 2010, when the Rangers were known as an aggressive team that went first to third on singles, stole a lot of bases and put relentless pressure on their opponents.
That season, when the Rangers won their first-ever playoff series en route to their first-ever World Series, they were 10th in home runs with 162, seventh in steals with 123, led the AL with 53 sacrifices and were third in the majors with 54 run-scoring sac flies.
Too often this season, the Rangers would rely on home runs for run production and continuously failed to get guys in from second, and even third, in key situations with less than two outs.
Ron Washington is supposed to live by the virtues of small ball and being aggressive, and the Rangers just haven't been doing that recently, and if he's going to be the manager of the team they're going to have to get back to that.